Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens by Spiritual Circle Journal ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Teaching my children to spend quality time with God is so important to me. I want them to form a long lasting relationship with Him. I have been hearing about bible journaling and journaling in general so I was really looking forward to having Edyn use the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens by Spiritual Circle Journal during her bible time.

Liz Lassa, the creator of the Circle Journals, is a Christian Life Purpose Coach. She loves to coach people to find their God given purpose. She created these journals so that kids can have a clear direction on how to spend quality time with God.

The Journal

I am very impressed with the quality of this journal. It is nice and sturdy with thick pages, and spiral bound which makes it very simple to use. The cover is eye catching and colorful with a thick piece of plastic over it, so that it helps protect it. There is an extra white page that gives the child an opportunity to create their own cover, so that it's personalized just for them. You can tear out the original cover so that the personalized one is on top. Edyn loved designing hers.

Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids & Teens is designed to be used with kids ages 8 and up. Edyn is 15 and I think it would work just as well for Gavin who is 11. It is encouraged to be mindful of the child's age because you want this to be fun for them, not something that they get frustrated with and want to stop doing. It's supposed to be a fun time for them and instill a love of spending time with God.

Before the child gets started, there is a great parent section before they journal. This section should be read prior to giving your child the journal. It will help you understand the concept of how it works, and also understanding the importance of journaling. After you read it, you can tear it out and keep it for yourself.

The format of the journal is simple but effective. You will have the custom cover, the key, the personal page, sample journal entry, journal pages, and summary pages.

 This journal is designed completely different than most conventional journals. There are 9 designated "prayer circles" to help your child get their thoughts together as they spend time with God. On the back of the customizable cover, there is a key that describes what each circle is supposed to be used for,

  • The cloud is the Journal Entry (top left) - What's on their mind today?
  • Circle with flag (top middle) is for the Lyric/Verse - What song are bible verse caught their attention?
  • Open Bible circle (top right) is for the message - What's the most important thing learned from devotional, bible reading, etc.
  • Heart circle (middle left) is for confession - What do they need to tell God they are sorry for?
  • The car (middle middle) is the God moving space - What have they noticed God doing in their lives?
  • The light bulb (middle right) is the light bulb moment or lesson learned - Have they had an "aha" moment or learned a lesson?
  • The bag is for Prayer (bottom left) - Anything bothering or worrying them? Ask God in prayer for help with it. 
  • Note with the pin (bottom middle) - This is for thank you or adoration. What can they thank God for or praise him for?
  • Tennis shoe - This is for actions. What kind of actions is God leading them to do? 
There are 65 journaling pages. That way there is one for at least once a week. After the journaling pages there are some summary pages. These are there for lessons learned, or characters pages, favorite verses, etc.

How did we use it and what did we think?

That is the easy part. Edyn would read her bible reading for the week, and then do a journal entry. I told her that I wanted her to use it at least once a week, but that it's there anytime she wants to record something or spend some extra time with God. She has really enjoyed doing it, and it was very simple for her to use and understand. The "circles" give her a guideline or prompt to help her know where to start. She will definitely continue to use it! If you are looking for an easy to use journal I highly recommend the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids and Teens by Spiritual Circle Journal. You won't be disappointed!

Be sure and follow Spiritual Circle Journal on Social Media!

Instagram @spiritualcirclejournal

Twitter @liz_lassa

Spiritual Circle Journal was very generous and let 40 of us review their product. If you would like to read other reviews, just click the link below.

Spiritual Circle Journal
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Monday, August 29, 2016

WAY Comes Home Kit by HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

As long as we've been homeschooling, I've never implemented a formal health curriculum. We've always just talked about all aspects of our health and eating healthy. I recently had the chance to review a fun health curriculum called the WAY Comes Home Kit by HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company.  If you're curious like I was for what the the WAY stands for, it is an acronym for Wellness, Academics, and You! We've been using it over the last few weeks, and have had a lot of fun with it.

What did we receive in the WAY Comes Home Kit?

I think what we DIDN'T receive would be a much shorter list! They really kept the homeschool mom in mind while creating this curriculum. They sent pretty much everything that we needed to use the program. I didn't have to go trekking off to stores to try and find anything I needed in order to get started! It was a fun box to open, because it had so many fun things in it!

  • DVD that goes along with the program
  • 3 Journals for ages/grades K-5 (1 for each level)
  • Parent Guide
  • 2 foam balls
  • plastic eggs
  • counter chips
  • vocab cards and activities already printed on card stock
  • 3 bins
  • tape measure
  • stethoscope (my kids LOVED this)
  • scale (my kids loved this also)
  • glitter
  • ink pad
  • large and colorful 2 sided poster

I hope I remembered to include everything because like I said, they thought of everything!

One of the things that really impressed me is that all of the consumable journals are included for each age group. There is a journal for K-1, grades 2-3, and grades 4-5. You don't even have to order separate supplies if you have children of different ages! That's definitely a blessing!

How does the kit work and how did we use it?

After we added this into our schedule, I had Gavin work on this 2 days a week. It worked out great for us that way. He could do part of the lesson one day, and continue on with it the next. I would say that the time it takes to do a lesson varies. We were working on the 4-5 journal, the WAY Innerspace Adventure, and it had a lot of writing, so sometimes it would take longer than others. I would say normally about 30 minutes.

There are 5 modules to the program. Each module takes a look at different ways to be healthy.

  • Getting Started
  • Where do You Begin?
  • Let's Get Active
  • The Nutrition WAY
  • Health - It's Personal
In each module, it is broken down into the 3 different activities, or in other words, the 3 different age levels. The Parent Guide is laid out nice and neat with easy to follow instructions for each level. This again makes teaching the same subject to multiple ages a simpler task. They also have a nice Lesson Layout which makes it super easy to jump right in.

Also, each lesson is very specific in telling the parent how to be prepared, the vocab words for that lesson, and any supplies needed. 

The entire program is centered around journaling. Not only will the child learn about being healthy, but they have also incorporated in language arts, math, and science. They get a little bit of everything rolled into this one subject.

 When we first got the kit, and in the first lesson, he got to even decorate his journal so that it was customized just for him. I think this is a great idea to get the kids motivated in using their journals.

The modules start out with watching a short segment on the DVD. After that they worked on the lessons given. 

You can really tailor it to your needs and keep it on the shorter simpler side, or you can take it out a little further past a week if you wanted to. They even give you the option to do what they call "Weekends with WAY". That way the lesson can even be incorporated easily into a busy weekend.

Most of all what I loved is that this curriculum encourages prayer at the end of every module! That is always wonderful thing to incorporate into a curriculum!

What did we think?

Well I really believe that they went above and beyond on this program. It's fun, educational, and is EASY for a homeschool mom to teach. Gavin enjoyed it too, and was even asking if he could do the younger levels because they looked fun. He learned quite a bit, and still likes to look through his journal. I would say that if you are looking for an affordable health curriculum, then you will be very pleased with the WAY Comes Home Kit, by HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company!

Be sure and follow them on Social Media! 

HomeSchool Scholastics was very generous and let 40 of us review their products. Click the banner to read more reviews!

WAY Comes Home Kit Review

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Weekly Wrap-Up...Late this week!

Last week was the first day of school for most of the public schools around here in Texas. We took that first Monday to have our annual "NOT" back to school day! We take the day off and try and do some fun activities together!

We had to of course go for our "NOT" back to school sno-cone! We have the best sno cone place here that is open all year long. It's hot in Texas most of the year, so it's definitely appropriate. They each got their sno cone and played a game of Jenga.

After running some more errands for the day, we headed back home and played some board games for awhile. We just love to spend the day out and about, but also having some fun. It had been raining so we didn't get to go to the park like we normally do, but that's ok since they still had a good time.

The rest of the week was pretty normal for us. We did some school, but I have also been letting the kids in the kitchen more, and really trying to add in a lot of life school. I want them to feel comfortable in the kitchen, and as they get older, even plan and cook their own creations! Gav likes to be in the kitchen a little more than Edyn, but she's getting there. 

We are having a really great time with Astronomy also! Gav loves to learn about the planets, and he even made a model from one out of balloons! I will have a review coming soon for his Astronomy so be looking for that!

Other than that, we did our main subjects. We are about to really start diving deep into U.S. History, and I'm super excited about that! I love U.S. History and I want to make it fun for them!

I'm hoping that now that school is back in session for most that we can find some fun places to go and see. My goal is to try and add in more field trips, even if it's just out exploring on our own!

We are back at this week with a new Christian fiction novel called, "The Pray-ers" So far it's really good, and I will have a review up for it in a few weeks!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week this week!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Edyn Turns 15 today!

Oh time please stop moving so fast. I'm not ready for my babies to grow up. Just yesterday my sweet Edyn was a baby. Now today, she has turned 15 and it's as if time moving a lot faster than I am...at least emotionally.

What can I say about Edyn? She loves Jesus, she's funny, beautiful, and talented, but most of all she has goals and plans. She will be your best friend, but won't be walked all over. We are working on her love of cooking, but I think it's more for me than her lol. The girl can do some serious eyeliner...no joke.

I think she had a pretty good weekend. Shes been begging for a skateboard. I have been ignoring the begs. I mean, they are so dangerous...and she's never ridden one. What do you do in that situation? Pray. Oh Lord, please change her mind. Can't we just go shopping like most teenage girls?? Yeah that didn't work, because she was praying the exact opposite.

After many discussions, and her dad and I giving her lecture after lecture about safety, we gave in and brought her to get the skateboard. We made a deal with her. You can get a skateboard, but you HAVE to wear safety equipment or it's going to become a pretty wall decoration. Let the but..but...buts commence. "I'm going to look sooooo dumb....ughhhhhh." It took her about 3 days to stop asking about that. No helmet, NO deal. We even went as far as to say that extra equipment for her wrists, elbows, and knees would be a great decision as well. I'm sure you can imagine the look we got, but I think she was starting to understand the importance of the equipment.

We took her to a really neat little skate shop and the guy that worked there couldn't have been better to her. He talked to her about the boards, and even showed her how to work on it if she needed to change it, and the maintenance of it. It was perfect. She picked out a skateboard, and not one I would have ever thought she would pick! I was thinking before we went in there, I sure hope they have a purple glittery board, because that's the one she's going to want. Nope. This girl got one with pizza on it. PIZZA. I laughed and laughed at that one, but hey it's her birthday!

We finished up our board shopping, she got a pretty white helmet, and then she even went to Academy and picked up the other safety equipment.

She's been riding several times yesterday, and today, and I have to say that she's gotten pretty good. 

She wanted pancakes for breakfast, purple of course, so I tried, but they weren't very purple. She didn't care, they still taste good!

After a rather lazy day, we headed out to one of our favorite pizza places for dinner where she had her traditional cheese and pepperoni pizza. 

Well I hope you had an amazing birthday Edyn!! We love you very much!! Next year...it's the sweet 16....I am going to go ahead and cry now...for a whole year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Slurpee Day ~ Wordless Wednesday

The kids wanted to go to our locally owned 7-11 to get a Slurpee, because you could bring your own container as long as it fit through the hole! We had brought the biggest ones so far haha! This was last Friday, and they are still in my freezer!

He decided on a mason jar...

She decided on a pub mix container...which was fairly large!

Gav decided on a huge animail cookie container from Costco..it was so much!

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Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Letting Go of My Inner Control Freak

As I was scrolling through Instagram, I came across a quote that really just slapped me in the face. Ouch. At least that's how I felt after I read it.

Can I be real with you for a minute? I have been dealing with a constant battle with myself over the past few months about memories, and what memories my children would take with them when they move out. Do they have enough happy memories? Will they remember as adults how much I love them and cherish every single minute with them? Yes I homeschool them, but that's work to them. It's just what they have to do. 

It has become crystal clear to me that my oldest is already married and moved out, and my second child is well on his way. My 3rd baby will be 15 in a week, and the not so baby anymore child is now 11. Time is marching on and I feel like my time with them is slipping through my fingers. I don't want to blink my eyes again, and be an empty nester! I don't want this time with them to be me worrying about whether my house is clean or if the dishes are done. 

See I have OCD. I don't turn bath room faucets on and off for a certain number of times, but I do struggle with things being out of place, and also other aspects of it. It would take too long to go into all of my details, but I do struggle with it daily. I feel like I can't quite function or move on to another task if the first task isn't finished, or if my house isn't perfect, and of course this makes me literally have ADD because I can't concentrate due to being so overwhelmed in my head. My brain is like a ticker tape at the bottom of CNN. I've come to the conclusion that I need to make me a posterboard that says, "Uhhh Hello!! You don't live in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine! Plus, sorry girl, but with 3 kids, a dog, and a husband, things aren't ever going to be perfect and Pinteresty all the time!" Is Pinteresty even a word? If not, it is now.

I have realized that my days go like this. Get up. Get ready for the day. Have coffee. Read my bible and journal. Unload the dishwasher. Get kids up. Start school. Do chores. Start dinner. Eat. Do dishes. Maybe get to sit down and have a few minutes to crochet or read...and then. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Literally everyday. Uhhhh...this is no way to live! This isn't how I want to spend the rest of my days while my kids are still at home!

 I keep myself so busy with the running of the house, that I forget a lot of times to have fun with them. Isn't that one of the reasons I started homeschooling in the first place? To spend quality time with them? Gavin will ask, "Can we go to the park today?" 90% of the time, my answer is no because first of all we live in Texas and it's HOT, so we can't really go until the evening or early in the morning. Also, I know if we don't get done what needs to be done at the house then it will be double for me tomorrow....and that makes me feel overwhelmed...completely overwhelmed. 

The other thing I am terrible about is being in control. The kids ask me if they can help do things, and I know that I can get it done faster if I do it myself, so in an effort to not stress myself out by having to redo it, I stress myself out trying to do it all. Are you still with me? I know it doesn't make sense to most people, and if we're being honest here, it doesn't make sense to me either! I hate being a control freak. Seriously it's time for a change. 

After praying about it, and I'm not talking fancy praying. I'm talking prayers like, Hey God, You're in control now...not me. Change me. Mold me. I need this change. I need your guidance. I am ready to let God work on me and hand in my control freak personality. It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. My children's happiness is worth it. My happiness is worth it. My sanity is definitely worth it!

 I can honestly already see changes taking place. I feel so much better. Like the chains of my control freakiness are breaking! Thank you Jesus! Why didn't I come to you sooner? Oh yeah...that control thing. I have started getting the kids involved in cooking more..not just when we bake cookies together, but pretty much every time. Guess what. Messes are made...and I don't even stress about it anymore. Dishes pile up. Guess what. They get done. Someone forgot to wash their hands after touching raw meat before peeling the carrots. We just throw those 2 carrots out. No. Big. Thing. 

Just look at all of this sweetness helping me cook.

Life moved on and dishes didn't come crashing down on me. We worked as a team to cook and we worked as a team to clean it up. There's laundry on the floor of my bathroom...it hasn't gotten up and run away to a family who washes it more regularly. There's a random blanket thrown over the couch...it's still there, laying there lifeless and hasn't moved from where it was dropped so nonchalantly hours ago. It feels good to not stress. It feels good to know that I will get to it, and if I don't it will still be there. 

I have also decided that we are going to concentrate on our school for about 3 hours a day. After that we are going to head out to parks, go Geocaching, and see what else we can find to do. The laundry will still get done, and the carpets vacuumed...and most of all, more memories will be made. 

I'm getting back to the basics of why I wanted to homeschool in the first place. I'm letting go and letting God. I know that's an old saying, but it's so good, and so timely for me. 

I'm letting go of the stress. 
I'm letting go of the OCD and anxiety.
I'm letting go of the lists and the perfectionist in me. 

I'm going to start relying on Him, and the rest will fall into place. 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.-1 Peter 5:7 
Yes He does, and I am so thankful for that.

I hope everyone has a blessed week. We are going to be just living real life over here. No Pinterest necessary. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tyrannosaurus Rex FlipStir Puzzle by Enlivenze LLC ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

We have a fun review that we are doing this time! Our family has always loved to work puzzles. My husband is famous for going out and buying a huge jigsaw puzzle and working on it until the early morning hours! We were given the chance to review a different kind of puzzle this time. We had so much fun working the Tyrannosaurus Rex FlipStir puzzle by Enlivenze LLC.

This puzzle is completely contained in a plastic container. At the top of it, you will have a small stick with a flat end, but also a curve on the tip for grabbing pieces. Hence the term FlipStir. The object is to basically flip the pieces over until you can get them all together to make the picture.

We all had different experiences with this! It may look easy, but it takes patience and a steady hand, and we had a level 1! They have a level 2 that is a little bit more complicated.

Gav tried it several times, and never had any luck. I don't think he was patient enough to keep at it. He will pick it up while he's sitting on the couch watching TV, so I'm hoping one day soon, he will work a little harder at it.

We pretty much had the same thing going on here with Edyn. She wanted to do it so bad, but again her patience gave out on her. 

My husband, who I forgot to take a picture of, did it in 5 minutes...no kidding. I on the other hand, finally got it done, but it did take me a few tries. The main thing is that it's fun to do. It's different than other puzzles, and it takes some thinking and work.

Besides the Tyrannosaurus Rex puzzle, they also have:
These all look like a lot of fun, and you can play them anywhere! They would be perfect for long car rides, or even for something to work on that doesn't plug into a wall! You don't need WIFI or even batteries!

We will continue to enjoy our FlipStir puzzle for many years to come!

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FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

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